Compared with its predecessors, Windows 7 is remarkably secure and dependable. It’s far from perfect, though: An unbootable PC, a nasty piece of malware, or a single important file gone missing can make you lose days or even months of work. And you can’t solve every nightmare by waking up.
Here are ways out of six common Windows 7 disasters. I’ll tell you how to fix a PC that won’t boot, retrieve files from an inaccessible hard drive, stop frequent blue screens of death, restore a forgotten administrator password, remove malware, and find a missing file.
Blue screens of death attack your PC regularly
Windows 7 keeps logs of “stop error.” To download the logs, and sense of them, and execute blue screen view, a free, portable program NirSoft which will show what drivers were running at the time of the crash, and highlights the most likely suspects. If the same drivers come from several crashes, be sure to bring up to date. Speaking of updating drivers, you should make sure that all of them are current.
Slimware Utilities “free Slimdrive makes this work much easier, because Windows will list it and what drivers need to be updated scans. If you (which is free, too) to register, it will find the drivers and then restart the upgrade for you. It even offers to create a restore point before each update. Do not update all the drivers at once, however, if you do this, and one of them only makes things worse, you have a hard time which one.
Frequent blue screens can also be a sign of hardware problems, especially bad RAM. Although Windows 7 has its own memory diagnostic program, I prefer the free Memtest86 +, you have to boot separately. You can download the program either as an ISO file from which you -. install a bootable CD -. Or create a exe file, the program and its bootable operating system on a flash drive.
You can’t access the hard drive
If Windows can not start because the PC can not read, the disk will work any of the previous solutions. But that’s not the worst: If you have a very up-to-date backup all your files are locked away in a potentially dead hard drive. Secondary drives do not boot from internal and external, can also die with important data locked away on them. If the drive is making noises that you have never heard before, connect the PC immediately.
In this case, you have only one possible solution, and it is expensive: Return the drive to a data retrieval service. DriveSavers and Ontrack are the best known, though not necessarily better than smaller, cheaper companies. Expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If your drive sounds OK, you may be able to recover files with the GetData Recover My Files. The free demo version of Recover My Files will show you which files can be restored and even display their content. Once you have paid the $ 70 license fee, the program can copy the files to another drive.
If that does not work, use you need a service call. When the patients drive is that you use to boot Windows, you must remove it from the PC and access on another computer. You can do this by a secondary drive in a desktop PC or with a SATA-USB adapter like the Bytecc USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA Adapter Kit.
An important file disappears
Your PowerPoint presentation is beautiful. It’s perfect. It’s … where is it? Click Start, type the name of the file and see what shows up. You may have renamed it by accident. Click Start, type a word that in the presentation, but not in many other files and see if that gets better results. If it takes a lot of results, click More results so that you can sort the found files by date. No luck? Try the trash. Maybe you have deleted the file. Impasse? Do not panic.
You can always file from the backup you made yesterday. You do not have to go back? Well, you should but as with the file you need to find out today you have to use the file-recovery software. Before I discuss specific programs, I need the definition of an absolute rule on using them until you either restore the file, or abandoned, not write to your hard disk. Under this rule, you must use portable file recovery software. Download the utility on another PC and save it on a flash drive.
Plug that drive in your PC and start the program from there. The rule also means that you do not return your file to its original location. Save it to your flash drive as well. With a little luck to find one of these two programs in the situation and restore your missing file. First, try the free Recuva Portable. It is fast and simple, it can preview the image formats, and it works reliably most of the time. If that does not work, try Software Shelf’s File-Rescue Plus. It costs $ 40, but you can back up to five files with the free demo version.
Strictly speaking, the File-Rescue Plus is not portable, but you have a work-around. Install it on another computer and copy the program file, FileRescuePlus.exe to your flash drive. After you pay the $ 40, use Notepad to include a file called key.ini nothing but the license key, Software Shelf sent to you after you purchased the program. Key.ini place on the flash drive in the same folder as the program file.
No one has the PC’s admin password
If the wrong person leaves your company in a huff, one or more PCs could be left stranded. With no one in the company knowing the password to an administrator-level account, you can’t install software, change important settings, or possibly access encrypted data.
Fortunately, you can remove the password, letting you log on to that account. You do that with the Offline NT Password & Registry Editor, a bootable, text-based free program that you download as an .iso file. Double-click that file, and Windows 7 will start the process of burning it to a CD.
Boot the CD and follow these instructions. I’ve put the on-screen prompts in italics. After you type your answer, press Enter.
boot: Just press Enter.
Select: : Above the prompt you’ll see a list of hard-drive partitions. Select the right one by typing that number.
What is the path to the registry directory?…: The default is probably correct. Just press Enter.
What to do?  ->: 1
or simply enter the username…: Type the name of the administrator account. If you’re not sure what it is, all of the account names are listed above the prompt.
Select: [q] >: 1
Select: ! – quit…: !
What to do : q
About to write file(s) back…: y
New run? [n]: n
# Remove the CD and reboot.
You should now be able to log on to the administrator account without a password. For security purposes, don’t forget to create a new password for the account. Just be sure to remember what it is.
Your PC won’t boot
If the computer is turned not take you to Windows, try from a Windows-7-DVD or to boot a recovery CD. You may already have the DVD. If Windows 7 does not come with the computer, but you installed it yourself, you have the disk. If you do not have it, you can borrow someone else’s plate. Alternatively, you can borrow someone else’s Windows 7 computer and use it to repair a system disc (you can also do this on your own PC before it has a problem) to create.
To create the CD, select Start, type of repair system, create a system repair disc and follow the instructions. If your computer will not boot from the CD, in the setup screen and change the boot order so that the optical or CD / DVD drive comes before the hard drive. I can not tell you exactly how to do this because it differs from one PC to another. When you first turn on your computer, look for an on-screen message to the press a certain key for setup. ” When starting the CD, follow the instructions.
You will probably be the utility very soon that it saying a problem and it asks if you want to fix the problem. They do. If it do not ask, or if the disc does not fix the problem, you will see a menu with various options. Startup Repair and System Restore are both worth a try. If your PC does not boot up before you enter Setup or from CD, you have a hardware problem. If you do not feel it working in a PC, take it to a professional.
You think your PC is infected
If your regular antivirus program — the one you already have up and running — hasn’t stopped the questionable software, it probably can’t. What you need is a second opinion, and possibly a third and a fourth.
Start with the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, a utility with an exceptional record of finding and removing malware. Download it, install it, launch it, update the database, and then perform a full scan.
Since installing and updating a cleaning utility are tasks that the infection may interfere with, it’s a good idea to follow your Malwarebytes scan with other scans that don’t require an installation or even an update.
On someone else’s PC, download SuperAntiSpyware Portable and copy it to a flash drive. Boot the infected PC into Safe Mode, plug in the flash drive, and run the program. Since SuperAntiSpyware.com updates the portable program every day or two, you don’t need to update it before the scan.
For a fourth opinion, try the F-Secure Rescue CD. This is another .iso file from which you can burn a bootable CD. Just boot from the CD and run the scan. The program will try to update its database over the Internet. If it can’t, you can download an update on another PC, put it on a flash drive, and keep that plugged in while running F-Secure on the infected PC.
Hopefully you’ve fixed your Windows 7 problems now.